Exploring cost dominance in crop farming systems between high and low pesticide use

Abstract : The purpose of this paper is to assess cost dominance in direct inputs between arable crop-based systems using low or high pesticide levels per hectare. Our investigation departs from a traditional efficiency analysis and aims at comparing two minimal direct cost functions excluding pesticide expenses. This means that we evaluate the gap between two efficient frontiers instead of focusing on individual farm inefficiency scores. Our only objective is to compare two optimal cost benchmarks for systems respectively defined with high or low pesticide levels per hectare by varying their scale and output mix. A robust approach frontier is introduced to control the influence of potential outliers and unobserved heterogeneity. Based on 707 French crop farms observed in 2008, our simulations show that agricultural practices using less pesticide per hectare are unambiguously more cost-competitive in terms of direct inputs while inducing no other substitution costs. This cost dominance is a robust phenomenon regardless of the size and scope of crop activities, which supports more ecofriendly practices.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, June 6, 2017 - 3:44:27 PM
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Jean-Philippe Boussemart, Herve Leleu, Oluwaseun Ojo. Exploring cost dominance in crop farming systems between high and low pesticide use. Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer Verlag, 2015, 45 (2), pp.197--214. ⟨10.1007/s11123-015-0443-1⟩. ⟨hal-01533552⟩

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